Once again members of the Middletown GOP are trying to take credit for other peoples efforts. Mayor Brightbill, her buddy Gerry and other members of the ruling party in Middletown want to mislead the public into believing that they had something to do with a $610,000 windfall made available to the township through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program by writing “letters to the editor” squawking about how brilliant and insightful the Middletown Republicans are, which in reality is utter nonsense.
These letters are a clear fabrication and blatant attempt to deceive the public by deflecting attention away from the fact the Middletown Republicans are planning to raise the municipal tax rate for the 4th time in 4 years. This current rate increase, as it stands now of 9.2%, would bring the total rate increase to 25% during this 4-year period.
A letter written by GOP supporter Peter VanNortwick, which appeared in various local publications, congratulated Mayor Brightbill and Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger for securing a $610,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant even though they knew nothing about it. The Mayor and her deputy, admitted as much at the Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting that took place on March 26th.
When a subsequent letter writer of the democratic persuasion pointed out the real story behind the grant, that it was New Jersey’s very own Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez who created the EECBG program back in 2007 (The Program was authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and signed into Public Law (PL 110-140) on December 19, 2007. The program however remained unfunded until The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $3.2 billion for it) and that these funds were granted to over 60 towns, 10 counties and the state itself. The letter writer also added that the township didn’t apply for these funds in advance.
The writer then concluded, “This is typical of how the Republican Party has been operating for years. They will take credit for something that they had no idea about to make people think that they are doing a service for the public. It is too bad that they feel the need to hide behind such lies. I hope this author will think hard when trying to give credit to someone that does not deserve it.”
Not to be outdone, Monmouth County Republican Committeeman (and local GOP tool) Michael Vitkansas, wrote a reply in which he started off by disparaging democrats and then stated, “the township administrator had just received word that Middletown had gotten a $610,000 grant for money-saving energy programs in Middletown. The Township Committee was told about the award at that meeting. Director of Planning Jason Greenspan went on to explain how Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and he had discussed the merits of applying for the grant back in 2008 and decided that they should give it a try.”
Mr. Vitkansas, in his partisan, republican zeal, unfortunately did not get the facts straight.
While Mr. Vitkansas was correct in stating that the township committee had just heard the good news from the Township Administrator about the grant, he failed to mention that the Administrator and the Director of Planning were totally unaware of the windfall until a reporter called questioning what the township had in mind for the grant, just before the neighborhood meeting started.
As it also turns out, his statement also turns out to be false because the Director of Planning, Jason Greenspan, could not have talked about this particular grant before because the EECBG program, even though it was created in 2007, is new and was never funded before this year. Jason Greenspan might have applied for something, but it could not have been for this program. As Gerry Scharfenberger mentioned at the meeting, they apply for so many grants, it is hard to say what they apply for. They just roll the dice by applying for everything, as they should, and hope something comes their way.
If you don’t believe what I have written then listen for yourself, the following audio clip is from the March 26th Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting. You can clearly hear Mayor Pam and Deputy Gerry saying it themselves.
Read the Robert Menendez press release announcing the funding >>> Here
Read the Rush Holt press release announcing the amount Monmouth County and Middletown will be receiving >>> Here
To read about the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program